Nate and Lindsey

Sharing Options

According to the prayer book, there are various scriptural reasons why God instituted marriage among the children of men. God gave us marriage to help fend off and forestall sexual sin, and He also gave us marriage in order that He might obtain a godly seed, as Malachi puts it (Mal. 2:15). But the third purpose, often neglected or overlooked, is this: “The union of husband and wife in heart, body, and mind is intended by God for their mutual joy; for the help and comfort given one another in prosperity and adversity.” In short, God blessed us with what is called companionate marriage.

There are two essential pieces of furniture in a biblical home, which are the bed and the table. The bed, surrounded by covenant vows, is what makes the marriage a marriage in the first place. But the table is the place where the bands of companionship are forged. The English word companion is formed from two Latin words—com, meaning with, and panis, meaning bread. A companion is a bread-fellow, someone who shares meals with you.

And all of this is a synecdoche, and figure of speech in which the part is made representative of the whole. “Sharing meals” is a short hand way of saying that all of life is shared. If you share breakfast with someone, and then dinner that evening, this means that the time you travel in between those meals—in short, your life together—is also shared.

This is made evident by what goes on around a healthy family table. The essential thing is not what you are eating so much as who you are eating with. And when you focus on the other person, you notice the jokes, the laughter, the conversation, the sharing of the day, the prayers offered together, the warmth of hearth and home, all of it.

When God looked down at what He had done in the Garden, He saw that all of it was good or very good. But there was one thing missing. He had formed the first man from the dust of the ground, and when He looked at him, He said not good. But this was no slam on the man in himself because the full phrase is that “it is not good that man should be alone.”  The man was good, but the man was alone, and that condition was not good.

We sometimes echo the King James version by saying that the woman was created as a helpmeet. But this is actually running two words together. The word help translated the Hebrew ezer, or helper, and the word meet was an archaic way of saying suitable. God was saying that He was going to create a companion who was suitable for Adam. They would fit together, go together. Some of that would work because of the things they had in common, like language. But some of it would work because of how different they were—they would go together like a violin and bow, which is one instrument, or a lock and key, which is one mechanism.

In terms of the creation, there is true suitability. But we are a fallen race, and can never afford to forget the presence of sin, which can get in and distort everything. Not only so, but it can get in and distort the three purposes of marriage. Sexual sin does this, obviously, and sin gets into the challenges of child rearing. The same thing is true of this third purpose of marriage. God gave Adam someone to eat with, and we should recall that our race fell into sin because of how Adam and Eve . . . ate together.

The table is a place of true domestic glory in a household that is surrendered to God. But fallen angels are devils, and we have to remember that the family table is not a place of automatic good, or automatic comfort.

“Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith” (Proverbs 15:17).

That’s King James for you. In modern parlance it would be this: Better to share rice and beans with a pleasant woman than top sirloin with a shrew. Or flipped around, better a meal of boiled cabbage with a good husband than Chicken Cordon Bleu with and angry man. The real place to cultivate good dining is in your relationship with God, and in your relationship with your spouse.

In this wedding here today, God is doing what God loves to do. He is knitting us together, and the next stage of this project, which we get to witness, is how He brought Nate and Lindsey together.

“Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: Extol him that rideth upon the heavens By his name JAH, and rejoice before him. A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation. God setteth the solitary in families” (Psalm 68:4–6a).

And so here we are, with gratitude in our hearts toward God. “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour” (Ecclesiastes 4:9), and a “threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12).

Nate, you are a stand up-guy. I have been impressed with your character, your initiative, and your steadfastness. It is no small matter to conduct a long distance courtship as you have done, and to exercise the kind of masculine leadership that you have shown over the course of these months. My charge to you is this. You have been a stand-up guy, and this wedding is not the signal for you to sit down. God created you to take responsibility, and as you willingly and cheerfully take on the additional responsibilities that God is assigning to you here today, you will grow steadily into the man that God has purposed for you to become. And here is the key to your transformation. Love Lindsey in imitation of Christ, with a view toward her increasing loveliness, knowing that as you do, unbeknownst to you, God will be transforming you into the kind of man who reflects the gospel light of Christ.

And Lindsey, here is your charge. You serve a God who answers prayer. You are here today in an answer any number of prayers and you and others have offered up over the years. I have seen you grow and flourish as you have been praying this way, and so you should know that God is not anywhere near done with you yet. As you trust Him for this, some of the faith muscles that you will have to use are the same ones that you have been learning how to use over the years. But some of them will be different. As that happens, do not give way to fear. Do not slip into assuming that God has accompanied you this far, but is now sending you on alone. Never. And never stop trusting God—because God is good all the time.   

In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, amen.